Archive for the “U.S. Politics” Category
Politics in the United States
The crybaby Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, is sure to flip out, if he hasn’t already. The New York Times reports that key votes in the state Senate have changed to which would permit gay marriage in the Empire State (WebCite cached article):
Thirty-three state senators have publicly declared they will support legalizing same-sex marriage, all but assuring passage of the measure which will make New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples can wed.
The Senate took up the measure just before 10 p.m., and the Senate galleries were packed with gay couples in support of the bill and religious opponents of it.
To date the chief objection to the legislation has been that it would force clergy to marry gays, even if their sect/cult/denomination/whatever objects to it on doctrinal grounds. But the governor proposed language which would alleviate that:
On Friday, the legislative leadership reached an agreement on a measure that they said would protect those religious institutions; that measure was approved Friday evening in the Assembly.
Note that such language is unnecessary; religious freedom already precludes forcing clergy to marry anyone they don’t want to marry. In its decision that allowed gay marriage here in my home state, the Connecticut Supreme Court stated so. My guess, though, is that the Religious Right will, nevertheless, keep throwing fits, continuing to promote the fiction that clergy being “forced” to marry gays is imminent — in spite of the fact that it’s not, and in spite of the unnecessary, explicit language that was added to the New York bill. They can’t help but do so … after all, lying is second-nature to them. They don’t know any better. Plus, they’re doing it for Jesus!
Photo credit: Castorp Republic.
, albany NY
, civil rights
, gay marriage
, new york
, new york state
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As most of my readers are probably aware, gay marriage is tantalizingly close to being legalized in the state of New York (WebCite cached article). The Religious Right in that state, naturally, is throwing fits over this possibility. Among them is New York’s Roman Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan. He’s known for his screaming irrationality, which I’ve noted previously, for example, in a diatribe he penned on his own blog, accusing the New York Times of being “anti-Catholic” because it was insolent enough to dare run stories on the reports of abuse within the Catholic Church in Ireland. It was worldwide news for months, as first the Ryan report and then the Murphy report were released there — but the Archibishop thinks that newspapers who reported on them must — by definition — be “anti-Catholic.”
It almost goes without saying, then, that Dolan’s knickers are again in a knot, as Albany edges closer to allowing gay marriage. In his irrational, sanctimonious rage, he made a comparison that is, quite frankly, completely unreasonable (cached):
Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America – not in China or North Korea. In those countries, government presumes daily to “redefine” rights, relationships, values, and natural law. There, communiqués from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of “family” and “marriage” means.
Dolan dislikes the idea of gay marriage, therefore if the state of New York allows it, then New York will have become a vicious totalitarian regime that will kill people at will.
I have to ask: Your Excellency, are you serious? Or are you daft?
Dolan is — as usual — just being childish. The legalization of gay marriage has no relation to totalitarianism, no matter where it’s practiced. Permitting gay marriage will not — repeat not — affect anyone other than gays who wish to marry. Heterosexual people will not be forced to marry others of their own gender. It will never happen. If gay marriage is permitted in New York, it will not change the lives of heterosexual couples in any way. Period.
Note also that His Excellency’s complaint is, more or less, the fallacious debate tactic known as reductio ad Hitlerum. The only difference is that he’s naming different bogeymen than the Nazis or Adolf Hitler. Otherwise it’s the same thing.
Hat tip: Religion Dispatches.
Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn.
, albany NY
, archbishop of new york
, archbishop timothy dolan
, archdiocese of new york
, catholic church
, civil rights
, gay marriage
, new york city
, new york NY
, roman catholic
, roman catholic church
, timothy dolan
2 Comments »
Please pardon another slightly off-topic post.
Over the years I’ve had correspondents accuse me of being a committed Leftist. It’s true I’m no fan of the Religious Right, but that hardly makes me part of the ideological Left, or a cog in the machine of the Democratic Party. For the record, I despise ideology in all its forms. Every single last one of them, wherever they are, and whoever belongs to them. All ideologies are arbitrary collections of notions, cherry-picked to work to the personal advantage of those who advance them, and detrimental to everyone else and to society as a whole.
If any of you really feel the need to label my political affiliation, I suppose the best one I could come up with, is “Cynicalist.” Basically I don’t trust any politician as far as I can throw him or her. It doesn’t matter what party he or she belongs to — I do not believe any of them! None are trustworthy, because — as Lord Acton once stated so truthfully — power corrupts. Even if an official isn’t corrupt before s/he is elected, s/he will become corrupted once in office. It’s inevitable, and as unavoidable as death and taxes.
How do I know this? If simple economics doesn’t make it clear, then examples from history should. And I can think of no better example of it — one that happened, as chance would have it, during my formative years — than the Watergate scandal. This was not really just a single scandal; it was a complex, multi-pronged affair, orchestrated by a lengthy cast of characters, all of whom were up to various forms of wrongdoing … some of them independent of each other. The entire convoluted debacle included burglary, espionage, extortion, perjury, obstruction of justice, campaign-finance hijinks, and more. It dragged on for years, and was extensive and significant enough to force Richard Nixon to resign as President … even though only about 4½ months into the scandal, he managed to be re-elected to his second term, and hung in until August of ’74.
The list of slippery characters whose names were trotted out each night on the evening news, almost every night as the scandal slowly unfolded, reached laughable proportions by the time Congressional hearings were held. The 18½ minute gap in the Oval Office tapes became legendary, and the words “not to the best of my recollection” — oft-spoken by White House staffers — a catch-phrase of the era. The whole thing, in fact, was almost surreal.
As the Watergate scandal was swirling around them, the Nixon White House — and while it still existed in 1972, his re-election committee — contrived other scandals in the lives and careers of other politicians. Nixon operative Donald Segretti famously referred to these dirty tricks as “ratfucking,” and he engaged in this practice with relish. For instance, he forged the so-called “Canuck letter” which ended the presidential candidacy of Sen. Ed Muskie of Maine. Since then, “ratfucking” has become a cottage industry in American politics, and has even gone beyond political campaigns; it’s now being done by bloggers and pundits (WebCite cached article).
So, how does one know a politician or pundit is lying? Whenever his/her lips are moving. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m neither a Rightist nor a Leftist, but rather, a Cynicalist.
Update: As luck would have it, no sooner did I post this story, than the National Archives released the Pentagon Papers (WebCite cached article). The leak of this document to the New York Times in 1971 ended up being a precursor to the Watergate debacle. The Nixon White House — which had had nothing directly to do with creating this document, it had been finished just prior to Nixon taking office in 1969 — nevertheless (in its paranoia) launched a concerted effort to find the leaker (RAND Corporation analyst Daniel Ellsberg). Once they’d found out who he was, they further worked to harass and discredit him, by any means they could find. Quite unbelievably, this campaign included a break-in at the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, as they sought desperately to find whatever they could to use against him. This particular operation, which had been approved by White House staffer John Ehrlichman, had been orchestrated by E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy — the two men who would soon after also burglarize the DNC offices in the Watergate complex, and touch off the much-larger scandal.
Photo credit: dbking.
Tags: canuck letter
, donald segretti
, ed muskie
, richard nixon
, united states politics
, us politics
, watergate scandal
4 Comments »
The Religious Right is relentless in its determination to rewrite history so as to place themselves — and their current political causes — back in time, even though most of their efforts, such as promoting Creationism and stopping abortion, are all decidedly contemporary notions. Their anachronistic views reveal their ignorance and expose them as liars. Two recent examples of this phenomenon follow, although they’re hardly unique.
First, I’m sure you heard about Sarah Palin’s NRA-propagandized version of Paul Revere‘s ride to warn the Massachusetts militia about the movement of British troops; Here, for example, is a CBS News story on her lies, which were compounded by a Wikipedia war to make it appear she was actually correct (WebCite cached article):
Dozens of changes were made to the Revere page on the Internet site Sunday and Monday after Palin claimed Revere’s famous ride was intended to warn both his fellow colonists and British soldiers.
Palin claimed, among other things, that Revere had been trying to “warn the British”; that he was firing shots into the air as he rode; and that he was ringing bells as well. Not one of those things is true, at least not in the Charlton Heston style that Palin told it. While he did end up warning the British about the militia, that was only after he’d warned the colonials — who’d been the intended targets of his warning ride — and had been picked up by British troops. By then, the cat was already out of the bag, so to speak, so he was able to tell them little of any value (and they eventually let him go). He absolutely did not fire his musket into the air as he went; secrecy had been his goal, he needed to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the British were on their way to arrest them. (Not to mention, loading and shooting a musket while on horseback is not exactly a simple feat.) Revere also did not ring bells as he rode, for the same reason.
Politifact and FactCheck have weighed in on her idiotic and anachronistic comments. The best either of them can say is that Palin was “barely truthful” … and that’s being generous.
Even after caught lying, and putting NRA words into Paul Revere’s mouth, Mrs Palin irrationally insisted she was correct. That also is quite in line with Religious Right practice; no Religious Rightist ever concedes error. Ever. Not for any reason, no matter the facts, and no matter how idiotic they sound. Hence, the campaign by her supporters to make Wikipedia back up her version of Paul Revere’s ride.
My second example of the Religious Right’s ignorance of, and lies about, history is from David Barton, the man whom the R.R. hails as a historian, when in fact, he is not, and never has been a historian (either by virtue of having a degree in history or having published an article in a peer-reviewed history journal). Right Wing Watch reports (video included) on his claim that the Founding Fathers supported Creationism and dismissed evolution (WebCite cached article):
Naturally, Barton says that the Founding Fathers “already had the entire debate on creation and evolution,” and sided with Creationism.
The problem with this, of course, is that evolution wasn’t really known until the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, nearly a century after them. The liar Barton went on to make an even more absurd and factually-incorrect claim:
“That’s why we said we want to separate from Britain, so we can end slavery,” Barton said.
Yes, folks, according to pseudohistorian Barton, the Revolutionary War was fought not to gain independence from Great Britain, but to free the slaves! The problem here, of course, is that the Constitution those same Founding Fathers wrote after that war, contained provisions allowing for slavery in the new country, and slavery wasn’t abolished until the end of the Civil War, again, decades later.
I have no idea what it is that Palin or Barton are smoking. But they’re hardly alone. The R.R. continuously represents itself as modern-day Founding Fathers, even though the R.R. is predicated on a form of fundamentalist, evangelical Christianity that did not exist in the F.F.s’ time. They apparently just can’t help themselves. In any event, whatever their motives might be, Palin and Barton’s lies place them squarely in my “lying liars for Jesus” club.
Hat tip: Religion Dispatches.
Photo credit: Based on HaHaStop.Com.
, david barton
, founding fathers
, liar for jesus
, liars for jesus
, lying liar for jesus
, lying liars for jesus
, paul revere
, paul revere's ride
, revolutionary war
, sarah palin
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I’ve blogged a couple of times on the phenomenon of militant Christians promoting Ten Commandments idolatry. This time it’s happening in the great religionist state of Louisiana, as the Times-Picayune of New Orleans reports (WebCite cached article):
A resolution calling for House and Senate members to support the concept of a Ten Commandments monument on Capitol grounds cleared a Senate committee without objection Wednesday and now goes before the entire Senate.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 16 [cached] by Sen. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, approved after more than 40 minutes of debate by the Senate Committee on Senate and Governmental Affairs, would direct the governor’s Division of Administration to find a location for the monument, to be paid for with private funds.
Of course this is an example of a state forcing religion onto its citizens. That fact is not changed by the transparent contrivance of private funds paying for it; in the end, the monument is going up at the direction of Louisiana state government, so there’s no logical way anyone can say it’s anything but a government action.
This monument’s promoters are also trying to envelop it in a veneer of “historicity”:
“The Ten Commandments is where laws first began,” Walsworth said. “This (Capitol) is where the laws of Louisiana are made each and every year. … This is more of an historical thing.”
Unfortunately for these Christofascists, it is absolutely, 100% not true that “laws first began” with the Ten Commandments. No way! Not even close. Legal systems predate the appearance of the Decalogue by millennia. Yes, folks … that’s by millennia! The Decalogue as we know it dates to about the middle of the last millennium BCE; but the ancient Sumerians had written law codes by the middle of the 3rd millennium BCE, and those in turn were based on a tradition of legal decisions which were made during the preceding several centuries. The Sumerian king Ur-Nammu (who lived in the 21st century BCE) and the Babylonian king Hammurabi (who lived in the 18th century BCE) were both famous for having promulgated widely-influential law codes — but the tradition of Mesopotamian kings propounding law codes was ancient, even in their times. And other peoples of the region, including the Egyptians, also had law-codes of their own, likewise dating centuries or millennia prior to the Ten Commandments. What’s more, the content of the Decalogue isn’t even innovative; admonitions against theft, murder, and lying in court, for example, are all part of these earlier law codes; they were prevailing legal principles in the region long before the Hebrews ever appeared.
It’s incontrovertible: As a legal code there is virtually nothing innovative about the Ten Commandments, aside from its admonition against worshiping other deities. Walsworth’s false claim puts him in my “lying liars for Jesus” club.
Yet another problem with any Decalogue monument, is which list of the Ten Commandments is posted on it. Most believers are not aware of this, but there are several ways in which the Ten Commandments have been enumerated over the centuries. Judaism has its own list; Catholics have theirs; Protestants have one of their own (with a few variations among denominations); and so too do the Orthodox churches. Any single list of the Ten Commandments will, therefore, inevitably be sectarian in nature, favoring one Decalogue tradition — and therefore one religion or denomination — over the rest. It can’t be any other way.
I’ve previously referred to the movement to build Decalogue monuments as “idolatry,” and it quite obviously is that. But I don’t expect proponents of these religionist monstrosities to see it that way. They’re doing it for Jesus, you see, so it just can’t be idolatry … by definition! This is, of course, very wrong. Idolatrous behavior is idolatrous behavior, without regard to the reasons one engages in it. Not only is the construction of Decalogue monuments idolatry — explicitly forbidden to all Christians, under all conditions — it’s also a form of public piety, which is likewise explicitly forbidden to all Christians, under all circumstances.
If there are any Christofascists out there who, nevertheless, still think Decalogue monuments are godly, and that I, as an American, am required to worship them just as they do, I invite you to do whatever you wish in order to make that happen. Force me to bow and scrape before your monument. I dare you to try it, by any means you wish. Go ahead. Make me. If you’re so sure it’s what your precious Jesus wants, why would you not do everything in your power to make it happen?
Photo credit: abbyladybug.
, babylonian law
, baton rouge LA
, bobby jindal
, christian right
, code of hammurabi
, code of ur-nammu
, hammurabi's code
, history of law
, law code
, law codes
, liar for jesus
, liars for jesus
, louie gohmert
, lying liar for jesus
, lying liars for jesus
, lying lies
, mike walsworth
, public piety
, religious right
, roy moore
, senate concurrent resolution 16
, Separation of church and state
, sumerian law
, ten commandments
, ur-nammu's code
, west monroe LA
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For some reason, the nation’s Christianists get all up in arms over public school graduations. It’s a kind of obsession. They seem to want to hold them in religious venues (e.g. in Enfield, Connecticut a year ago) and they demand that school officials say prayers at them during graduations. There’s just one teeny little problem with this obsession, and that’s the First Amendment. They aren’t permitted to do the former of these unless they have no choice, and they can’t do the latter at all — ever. Nevertheless, they still act as though they can and should do both, and that anyone who prevents them from doing either, is trying to destroy them personally. They just can’t handle being told “no.”
Case in point: Bastrop High School in Louisiana, where a courageous student named Damon Fowler dared say “no,” and the community — mostly made up of militant Christians — has gone after him over it. The Bastrop Enterprise reports on this revelation of Christians’ character (WebCite cached article):
For the first time ever, prayer will not be part of graduation ceremonies Friday night at Bastrop High School.
Principal Stacey Pullen said the school received an e-mail on Tuesday from a student who identied themself as an atheist.
“They said if we included a traditional prayer in the ceremony that they would contact the (American Civil Liberties Union),” Pullen said. “We asked our attorney about it, and we are making changes to the program.”
While this is a proper and legal response, the reaction of local Christians has been typical condescension:
Mitzi Quinn has been on the staff at BHS for almost 25 years, much of that time as a senior advisor. In the past, Quinn said there have been students who were atheist, agnostic and other non-Christian religions who “had no problems” with the prayer.
“They respected the majority of their classmates and didn’t say anything,” Quinn said. “We’ve never had this come up before. Never.”
Ms Quinn apparently does not understand the legal concept here. Violating separation of church and state is unconstitutional and impermissible in the United States, in every place, and under every condition. It does not matter that, in the past, non-Christians have held their tongues for fear of Christians’ wrath. They should not have had to do so, and that they did, does not make the practice acceptable. It is flat-out illegal. Period.
Moreover, it is not the job of non-Christians to have to be silent in the face of a Christian majority. That Christians are in the majority does not meant they are entitled to have their way all the time. This sort of thinking is what fueled the “Jim Crow” era, and is just another way of saying it’s up to minorities to “keep in their place,” be both silent and unseen, and not “get uppity.” This philosophy is immoral, inappropriate, and an unacceptable basis for public policy.
Other students have jumped on this issue. BlagHag reports that some of them used the graduation rehearsal to express their (understandably, given their ages) juvenile outrage that their precious graduation prayer was taken away from them (cached).
The real gem of this case — and what makes the (vile and disgusting) character of militant Christianists most evident, is that Damon’s own mother is throwing him out over this, according to his brother Jerrett (cached):
My brother has been cut off from all communication by my mother. He is not allowed to speak to me and I live 6 hours drive away from him. There’s nothing I can do. My sister is supposed to go pick him up tomorrow and he will no longer be living in that town or with my parents. He’s coming to Texas with me.
Way to go, Christians. What a fantastic way to represent “the Religion of Love.” Why, this example of godly, loving behavior makes me want to run out immediately and convert to fundamentalist Christianity as soon as I can!
… Not … !
Remarkably, this attitude is scriptural, and I suppose expected of militant Christians, since Jesus himself declared:
Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. (Matthew 10:34-37)
Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. (Luke 12:51-53)
Jesus said, “Those who do not hate their fathers and their mothers cannot be disciples of me, and those who do not hate their brothers and their sisters and take up their cross like me will not become worthy of me.” (Gospel of Thomas 55)
So maybe I should congratulate Damon’s mother for being dutiful to the explicit words of the gospels and rejecting her son as a result? Maybe this was a courageous, rather than cowardly, act?
Or maybe — just maybe! — this shows how horrific it is to actually apply, literally, the words of scripture to one’s life, and how dysfunctional and counterproductive fundamentalist Christianity is.
Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, has created a Chipin scholarship fund for the young Damon. I’ve contributed, and urge you to do so, too:
One last thing for all you militant Christianists who don’t get it: No one is preventing you from praying, anywhere you wish to. You can pray silently, any time you want, even in public school, and even during a graduation. Neither Damon Fowler nor the ACLU have stopped you from doing so, and for that matter, they aren’t even trying to do that. What they’re stopping is the school system forcing students to pray at public school events. That’s all. Your religious-freedom rights are not being taken away from you. For you to make any such claim, is a lie … a lie for Jesus. Many of you have no problems lying for Jesus … but your lies will still be lies, whether or not you feel entitled to tell them.
Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.
Photo credit: Woodngifts.
Tags: bastrop high school
, bastrop LA
, damon fowler
, graduation prayer
, high school
, jarrett fowler
, matthew 10:34
, mt 10:34
, public school prayer
, school prayer
, Separation of church and state
, stacey pullen
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The subject of Ayn Rand is a bothersome one that, so far, I’ve avoided addressing. I admit to having been initially fascinated by Rand and her Objectivism while in college, but it didn’t take too long before I saw her — and it — as being more or less worthless. Over the past couple of years, she’s been held up as something of a prophetess by the Right, including Religious Rightists like Glenn Beck. While she definitely supported the very kind of plutocracy that the Religious Right seems to love, the glaring reality about Rand — which these people are purposely ignoring — is that she was a vehement atheist, and despised Christianity in particular. I bring this up, now, because I saw Time magazine’s Swampland blog entry pointing out this vast contradiction, which in turn was sparked by Charles Colson condemning the reverence for Ayn Rand that he sees in his fellow Rightists (WebCite cached article):
The conservative evangelical leader Chuck Colson has become so concerned about Rand’s booming popularity in the GOP that he recently recorded a video warning that Rand “peddles a starkly anti-Christian philosophy” [cached]. And the Christian group American Values Network, which presents itself as an alternative to organizations like the Family Research Council, has distributed a memo [cached] to congressional offices highlighting Rand’s criticisms of Christianity and some of her more controversial comments, including praise for a man who raped, murdered, and dismembered a 12-year-old girl. “Ayn Rand’s strong atheism, absolute rejection of Christ’s teachings, and goal of replacing religion with her belief system,” reads the memo, “stands in total opposition to all that which America’s faith community holds most dear.”
Ayn Rand is, indeed, a particularly troubling figure, in her personal life and in her career. The assumption that she “admired” William Edward Hickman … the rapist/murderer referred to in the AVN’s warning … is, perhaps, a little strong, but it’s not too far from the truth. Hickman turned out to have been the model on which she based her “ideal man.” Ayn Rand cheated on her own husband, for many years, with another married man (Nathaniel Branden). She also fell out with almost everyone with whom she’d associated professionally (this included Branden, who originally had been one of her most loyal disciples).
But these character flaws, no matter how serious they may be, hold little significance to Religious Rightists (notwithstanding the AVN memo). Let’s be honest, Religious Rightists generally don’t give a flying fuck what sort of vile pricks they follow (if they did, they would hardly be supporting the womanizing, twice-divorced Newt Gingrich or the felonious Chuck Colson, among others). What matters to Religious Rightists is that one spews Religious Rightism, not one’s ability to actually live out the values one claims to espouse.
What these Religious Rightists fail to notice is that Rand was actually an outspoken atheist who condemned faith and religious thinking of any kind. She viewed religion as the basis for collectivism, which she despised passionately. The Institute which bears her name and promotes her philosophy, currently opposes the mixture of religion and politics (see e.g. this article on their Web site, cached). Were she still alive and writing today, I have no doubt she’d be lumped in with the so-called “New Atheists.” Her philosophy is also closely tied to that of Friederich Nietzsche, who himself was no fan of Christianity, and he’s not very popular among Christians, either.
But what Rand did support was plutocracy; control of society by the wealthy and powerful, with the masses subservient to them. Arguably that’s how things are now, and likely how they will always be … but what she promoted was something even more extreme, a world in which there was no charity at all (whether governmental, religious, or otherwise) and in which the “haves” secretly conspire to destroy the “have nots,” merely because — well! — they can. As it turns out, this latter goal is the premise on which her famous novel Atlas Shrugged is based. And we all know the Religious Right loves plutocracy, even an extreme one in which the masses are left to starve and die, in vast numbers.
The popularity of the vehement atheist Ayn Rand among Religious Rightists only serves to show how hypocritical they are … cherry-picking their way through life, ignoring any inconvenient inconsistencies in an effort to retain a worldview they find emotionally satisfying. Their heroine would not even want their admiration, were she still alive, and would likely condemn them for this hypocrisy.
Photo credit: DonkeyHotey.
Tags: american values network
, atlas shrugged
, ayn rand
, charles colson
, christian right
, chuck colson
, nathaniel branden
, religious right
3 Comments »
The militant and angry Christofascist Georgia state representative Bobby Franklin used Facebook as a platform to whine about the victims of recent tornadoes, as Georgia Politico reported recently: (WebCite cached article):
Georgia Republican State Representative Bobby Franklin today compared the victims of the massive super cell tornado system that ripped across the southern United States over the weekend to idolaters “praying to their god, FEMA”.
The article includes a screen shot of his whiney hyperreligious drivel:
GA state rep Bobby Franklin's Christofascist comment on Facebook (via Georgia Politico)
Obviously this comment is insulting to the tornado victims — the majority of whom are, no doubt, Christians (seen as how the entire country is majority-Christian). Another problem here is that, in a way, FEMA constitutes a kind of insurance to which the victims have all contributed over the years, in the form of federal taxes they’ve paid. Would Franklin accuse someone of “praying” to an auto insurance company (for example) when s/he files an accident claim? People like Franklin likely object to this view since they see government disaster-coverage as coercive, as opposed to insurance which is a private contract. But the fact is that it’s not possible to purchase tornado coverage for one’s home or business … all insurance policies exclude
“acts of God” (e.g. violent weather events). The private sector offers little opportunity to buy such coverage, because — quite simply — no private insurance company is large enough to absorb the losses it might have to accept, without pricing premiums so high that few can afford it. That’s a risk only government has the resources to handle.
Militant Christofascists like Franklin view government as somehow having “replaced” churches in the social order. What they want, is for churches to become — once again — the entity upon which everyone relies, when they’re in need. This will, in turn, grant churches a degree of power and control over people’s lives that they do not currently have.
To an extent, it’s true that churches once constituted the societal “safety net.” But there’s a reason FEMA exists … because not even churches are large enough to take on a risk of this size. Churches would not be able to rebuild all the homes and businesses lost to these tornadoes. They might be able to rebuild some of them … but they would have to choose whom to help and whom to leave to their own devices, and that would likely be based on the person’s beliefs. Only those most loyal to a church’s dogma would get that church’s aid.
That’s what this is all about folks … it’s nothing more than a play for power. Christofascists like Franklin want people to become serfs of the churches where they live, and use their control over them to bend them to their religious views. It’s despicable, of course, but that hardly matters to people who think they’re entitled to force everyone, willingly or not, to adopt their own religion because they believe they’re entitled to have the entire planet worship as they do.
Another Christofascist objection to the US government, of course, is that under the current Constitution, they’re not able to force their religion on Americans. The only way they can do that is to abolish it and create a new theocratic government. Hence their opposition to the current administration and anything that calls attention to it (e.g. FEMA’s recovery activities).
Hat tip: Religion Dispatches.
Photo credit: NOAA.
Tags: bobby franklin
, christian right
, religious right
, safety net
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